Why visit: The seat of the US government is a perfect place to start exploring American with your family.
What to do: Be awed by the towering Lincoln and Washington Memorials. Stop in any Smithsonian Institution that catches your kid’s fancy, from American History to Space Exploration to Native American to African American to Art—they’re all free. Plan ahead and you’ll be able to visit the White House and Congress too. Round out a visit with a trip to the stellar zoo and then up to Adam’s Morgan neighborhood to sample a cornucopia of international cuisines.
Why visit: Walk in the footsteps of our founding fathers.
What to do: Head to Independence National Historic Park, called “America’s Most Historic Square Mile,” to see the Liberty Bell and Independence Hall, along with the Betsy Ross House, Benjamin Franklin Museum, and National Constitution Center. Older kids will love the walk-through heart at Franklin Science Institute, younger kids the hands-on Please Touch Museum. Everyone will want to try the frozen treats at Franklin Fountain, a vintage-style ice cream parlor.
New York City
Why visit: Be awed by the bustle and bright lights of The Big Apple.
What to do: Watch Times Square glow with neon lights and pick up tickets to watch a real Broadway show at the TKTS booth, ride to the top of the Empire State Building, and see the dinosaurs at The Museum of Natural History. Be sure to leave time for people-watching in Central Park. Other highlights include the moving tribute to the fallen towers at the World Trade Center Memorial, the full-size planes kept on a real warship at The Intrepid, and eating your way around the world in foods halls such as Chelsea Market and in neighborhoods like Chinatown and Little Italy. New York City is also perfect travel destination for even the most jaded teen traveler.